• Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari

Tel :+390649255124
Fax :+390644340632
Research Director at the National Research Council of Italy, Rome, Italy

Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology - National Research Council of Italy

Viale Regina Elena 291 Rome 00161


Dr. Di Rosa’s research activity deals with the induction and the maintenance of immunological memory by CD8 T cells, a highly specialized type of leukocytes controlling intracellular infections and tumors. Although several aspects of CD8 T cell memory have been clarified, a complete picture of the events involved in antigen-induced proliferation and differentiation from naive to memory CD8 T cell is not currently available, nor it is known how memory CD8 T cells are steadily maintained as seemingly quiescent cells, and yet are poised to promptly generate a huge progeny of effector CD8 T cells upon secondary response. A better knowledge of CD8 T cell memory is essential for our understanding of human diseases, including cancer, and the development of vaccines and of therapeutic and diagnostic modalities.


Dr. Di Rosa’s research group has demonstrated that the capacity of CD8 T cells to migrate to the bone marrow (BM) and assume long-term residence in this organ is an important aspect of immunological memory. Current research interests of the group are:


1) to better understand the functional and molecular differences between memory CD8 T cells from the BM and those from lymphoid periphery (blood, spleen, lymph nodes, etc);


2) to test the hypothesis that the BM offers two types of niches for memory T cells: one driving self-renewal, the other supporting quiescence, thus echoing the duality of niches for hematopoietic stem cells;


3) to compare different vaccination protocols for their capacity to induce CD8 T cell priming and establishment of CD8 T cell memory in the BM;


4) to investigate the protective function of BM memory CD8 T cells against cancer.



A.G. Laing, A. Lorenc, I. Del Molino Del Barrio, A. Das, M. Fish, L. Monin, M. Muñoz-Ruiz, D.R. McKenzie, T.S. Hayday, I. Francos-Quijorna, S. Kamdar,M. Joseph, D. Davies, R. Davis,  A. Jennings, I. Zlatareva, P. Vantourout, Y. Wu, V. Sofra, F. Cano, M. Greco, E. Theodoridis, J. Freedman, S. Gee, J.N.E. Chan, S. Ryan, E. Bugallo-Blanco, P. Peterson, K. Kisand, L. Haljasmägi, L. Chadli, P. Moingeon, L. Martinez, B. Merrick, K. Bisnauthsing, K. Brooks, M.A.A. Ibrahim, J. Mason, F. Lopez Gomez, K. Babalola, S. Abdul-Jawad, J. Cason, C. Mant, J. Seow, C. Graham, K.J. Doores, F. Di Rosa, J. Edgeworth, M. Shankar-Hari, A.C. Hayday. A dynamic COVID-19 immune signature includes associations with poor prognosis. Nat Med Aug 17. doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-1038-6. 2020

F. Antonangeli, A. Natalini, M.C. Garassino, A. Sica, A. Santoni, & F. Di Rosa. Regulation of PD-L1 expression by NF-κB in cancer Front Immunol. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.584626. 2020. 

M. Munoz-Ruiz, I. Pujol-Autonell, H. Rhys, H.M. Long, M. Greco, M. Peakman, T. Tree, A.C. Hayday & F. Di Rosa. Tracking immunodynamics by identification of S-G2/M-phase T cells in human peripheral blood. J Autoimmun. 112: 102466. 2020.

S. Simonetti,  A. Natalini, A. Folgori, S. Capone, A. Nicosia, A. Santoni & F. Di Rosa. Antigen-specific CD8 T cells in cell cycle circulate in the blood after vaccination. Scand J Immunol. 89: e12735. 2019.

S. Simonetti, 
 A.B. Barroeta Seijas, A. Natalini, S. Vitale, D. Runci, A.C. Quinci, A. Soriani, A. Di Virgilio, E. Aricò, L. Gabriele, A. Santoni & F. Di Rosa. Dendritic cells modulate c-kit expression on the edge between activation and death. Eur J Immunol.49: 535. 2019. 

Research Topics “Bone marrow T cells at the center stage in immunological memory” edited by F. Di Rosa, T. H. Watts; Front Immunol. Frontiers Media SA, Losanna. 2017. ISBN: 978-2-88945-093-0

A.B. Barroeta Seijas, S. Simonetti, S. Vitale, D. Runci, A.C. Quinci, A. Soriani, M. Criscuoli, I. Filippi, A. Naldini, F.M. Sacchetti, U. Tarantino, F. Oliva, E. Piccirillo, A. Santoni & F. Di Rosa. GM-CSF inhibits c-kit and SCF expression by Bone Marrow-derived Dendritic Cells. Front Immunol. 8: 147. 2017. 

F. Di Rosa. Two niches in the bone marrow: a hypothesis on life-long T cell memory. Trends Immunol. 37: 503-512. 2016.

F. Di Rosa. Maintenance of memory T cells in the bone marrow: survival or homeostatic proliferation? Nat Rev Immunol 16: 271. 2016.

F. Di Rosa & T. Gebhardt. Bone marrow T cells and the integrated functions of recirculating and tissue-resident memory T cells. Front Immunol. 7: 51. 2016.

A. C. Quinci, S. Vitale, E. Parretta A. Soriani, M. L. Iannitto, M. Cippitelli, C. Fionda, S. Bulfone-Paus, A. Santoni & F. Di Rosa. IL-15 inhibits IL-7Ralpha expression by memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells in the bone marrow. Eur J Immunol 42: 1129-1139. 2012.

F. Di Rosa. T lymphocyte interaction with stromal, bone and hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. Immunol Cell Biol 87: 20-29. 2009.

E. Parretta, G. Cassese, A. Santoni, J. Guardiola. A. Vecchio & F. Di Rosa. Kinetics of in vivo proliferation and death of memory and naive CD8 cells: parameter estimation based on BrdU incorporation in spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow.J Immunol 180: 7230-7239. 2008.

G. Cassese, E. Parretta, L. Pisapia, A. Santoni, J. Guardiola & F. Di Rosa. Bone marrow CD8 cells down-modulate membrane IL-7Ralpha expression and exhibit increased STAT-5 and p38 MAPK phosphorylation in the organ environment. Blood. 110: 1960-1969. 2007.

F. Di Rosa & R. Pabst. The bone marrow: a nest for migratory memory T cells. Trends Immunol 26: 360-366. 2005.

E. Parretta, G. Cassese, P. Barba, A. Santoni, J. Guardiola, & F. Di Rosa.  CD8 cell division maintaining cytotoxic memory occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. J Immunol 174: 7654-7664. 2005.

F. Di Rosa, & A. Santoni. Memory T cell competition for bone marrow seeding. Immunology 108: 296-304. 2003.

F. Di Rosa, & A. Santoni. Bone marrow CD8 T cells are in a different activation state than those in lymphoid periphery. Eur J Immunol  32: 1873-1880. 2002.

F. Di Rosa, B. Serafini, P. Scognamiglio, A. Di Virgilio, L. Finocchi, F. Aloisi & V. Barnaba. Short-lived immunization site inflammation in self-limited active Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis. Int Immunol 12: 711-719. 2000.

B. Serafini, S. Columba-Cabezas, F. Di Rosa, & F. Aloisi. Intracerebral recruitment and maturation of Dendritic Cells in the onset and progression of Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis. Am J Pathol 157: 1991-2002. 2000.

F. Di Rosa, S. Ramaswamy, J. P. Ridge & P. Matzinger. On the lifespan of virgin T lymphocytes. J Immunol  163: 1253-1257. 1999.

F. Di Rosa & V. Barnaba. Persisting viruses and chronic inflammation: understanding their relation to autoimmunity. Immunol Rev  164: 17-27. 1998.

F. Di Rosa, A. Francesconi, A. Di Virgilio, L. Finocchi, I. Santilio & V. Barnaba. Lack of Th2 cytokine increase during spontaneous remission of Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis. Eur J Immunol  28: 3893-3903. 1998.

J. P. Ridge, F. Di Rosa & P. Matzinger. A conditioned dendritic cell can be a temporal bridge between a CD4+ T helper and a T killer cell. Nature  393: 474-478. 1998.

F. Di Rosa & P. Matzinger.  Long-lasting CD8 T cell memory in the absence of CD4 T cells or B cells. J Exp Med  183: 2153-2163. 1996.

M. M. Epstein, F. Di Rosa, D. Jankovic, A. Sher & P. Matzinger. Successful T cell priming in B cell deficient mice. J Exp Med  182: 915-922. 1995.



Dr. Gabriele Favaretto, technician (flow cytometry facility)

Dr. Silvia Gitto, PhD student
Dr. Ambra Natalini, MSc and PhD student
Dr. Hajro Hajrullaj, MSc student
Dr. Sonia Simonetti, MSc and PhD student
Dr. Amairelys Barroeta Seijas, post-doctoral fellow
Dr. Daniele Runci, post-doctoral fellow
Dr. Ilaria Fraudentali, MSc student
Dr. Marco Baiano, MSc student
Dr. Angela Caterina Quinci, PhD student
Dr. Sara Vitale, post-doctoral fellow
Dr. Elisabetta Parretta, PhD student



Dr. Claudio Passananti
Dr. Nicoletta Corbi
Dr. Fabrizio Antonangeli
Dr. Teresa Colombo

With IBPM Associate members:
Prof. Angela Santoni, Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome

Prof. Alessandra Soriani, Sapienza University, Rome
Prof. Domenico Raimondo, Sapienza University, Rome
Dr. Lucia Gabriele, Italian National Institute of Health, Rome
Prof. Antonella Naldini, University of Siena
Prof. Antonio Sica, Piemonte Orientale University, Novara; Fondazione Humanitas, Milan
Dr. Marina Chiara Garassino, Istituto Nazionale Tumori di Milano, Milan
Prof. Adrian Hayday, Francis Crick Institute, London; King's College, London, UK
Prof. Rob de Boer, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Dr. Ugo D’Oro, GSK vaccines, Siena
Dr. Alfredo Nicosia, Nouscom, Rome



Since 2014 Dr. Di Rosa co-organizes the “Roman Immunology Day” (Giornata Romana di Immunologia, GRI), together with Dr. Luca Battistini (Fondazione Santa Lucia), prof. Angela Santoni (Sapienza University) and prof. Vincenzo Barnaba (Sapienza University).

The GRI is a 1-day event that is held 2-3 times/year at Sapienza University or at CNR. It is a meeting of the immunology community in Rome usually having 1-2 lectures delivered by foreign invited speakers and 5-6 talks by local speakers.

TITLE: MD (1990), PhD (1995)

from 2023 to the present: Research Director (Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, CNR, Rome, Italy)
2007-2022: Senior Researcher (Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, CNR, Rome, Italy)

2001-2006: Researcher (Institute of Genetics and Biophysics “A. Buzzati-Traverso”, CNR, Naples, Italy)

from 2018 to the present: Visiting Scientist at the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
2019-2021: Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the King's College London, London, UK
(supported by CNR Short Term Mobility, and the Royal Society, UK)


2013-2016 Adjunct Professor of Immunology, Msc Degree in Applied Biology for Molecular, Cellular and Patophysiological Research, University of Rome 3, Rome
2010 Qualification of Associate Professor of General Pathology (Basic mechanisms of disease) and Immunology, University of Rome 3, Rome
2014 Qualification of Associate Professor of General Pathology (Basic mechanisms of disease) and Immunology, Italian National Competition


2017-2020 and 2014-2017 Member of the Board of Directors, Italian Society for Immunology, Cinical Immunology and Allergology (SIICA, www.siica.it)

2019 to the present and 2001-2004: Member of the Board of Directors, Advanced School of Immunology “Ruggero Ceppellini” (www.ceppellini.it)

1996-2000: Post-doctoral fellow (Department of Experimental Medicine and Institute of Internal Medicine I, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy)

1993-1995: PhD student /Post-doctoral fellow (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland, USA)

1990-1995: PhD student (Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy)